New arrivals Blog #4: Riding the relocation rollercoaster

For the last few weeks, my blog posts focused on some of the challenges of arriving somewhere new. This week’s post is the last in the series and is all about the emotional ups and downs when you’re a new arrival.

The transition stage

David Pollock’s stages model describes each part of the relocation process. His transition stage describes how it feels when you have just arrived in your new location. In the transition stage, everyone in the family is more self-centred than normal, small problems become big issues and emotions—particularly anxiety and insecurity—are heightened. It can take months for people to move out of the chaotic transition stage into the calmer entering stage.

The relocation rollercoaster

When you and your family are in the transition stage, the emotional highs are higher than usual, and the lows feel more extreme too. I like to describe this as the relocation rollercoaster due to how quickly you can switch between positive and challenging feelings. The culture shock graph (below from this blog) gives us a great starting point to understand the relocation rollercoaster. It starts with very extreme highs and lows, then over time, the graph begins to even out.

Top tips on the relocation rollercoaster

  1. Remember this experience of extreme emotional highs and lows is temporary - it will not last forever

  2. Understand that it’s normal to have a much bigger range of emotions than you would perhaps have experienced in your previous location

  3. Take time to acknowledge all of your emotions, whether positive or more challenging, they’re all part of the experience

How I can help

Navigating through these extreme highs and lows is challenging even for the most experienced expats. I’m available to help with my hello/goodbye programme, coaching for adults and children or a personalised consultation on how best to use A New Adventure: Coaching Cards.